MASON CITY, Iowa - The explosion of cases of the delta variant and a rise in treating patients for COVID-19 is prompting MercyOne North Iowa to encourage folks to get vaccinated.
President and CEO Rod Schlader says the number of patients being treated has more than doubled since last week, as has the number of patients being placed in critical care and requiring a ventilator. 85% of those being treated have not been vaccinated; for those in critical care, that number is 100%.
The spike is putting a strain on resources, as bed space has been severely reduced. There are 20 beds that are occupied with COVID patients, with a COVID unit that can take up to 25 patients. If that unit is filled up, it means the hospital will be forced to restrict elective surgeries and procedures. In addition, Schlader says the hospital does not have many nurses and clinicians to assist like in the first surge, with many working longer hours.
"We were getting contract nurses from the state, the state provided us some. Those are not available right now. We have several positions we're trying to fill with contract labor, and we can't find them."
Schlader heavily encourages those who have not yet been vaccinated to get a shot, in order to reduce COVID-19 cases, and help those on the front lines.
"It's our community, and if we don't encourage one another to be vaccinated, it affects all of us."